Travis Loetkeman will be competing with the best the province has to offer at this year’s Provincial Skills Competition.

The Grade 11 student recently won a gold medal in electrical installation at the Regional Skills Competition in Vermilion. At regionals, Loetkeman had to wire switches, plugs and a subpanel on a mini-house.

“It was a really good experience and it was fun to win. I didn’t expect to win but it was a good surprise.”

Loetkeman has been taking the electrical course at Avery Outreach School and was advised by his teacher Cory Gratton to enter the competition.

“It seemed like a fun challenge. It was time to try something new and see if I could excel at something else too.”

Gratton says the school has participated in the competition for the past three years and has since collected two gold medals and two silver medals.

“In the last 11 years I’ve been involved with it, the competition has gotten much stronger. The level that students have to be at now is more consistent with a journeyman electrician and not a high school student.”

What makes Loetkeman’s win all the more impressive to Gratton is that he is a year behind most of his competitors.

“Typically it’s a competition that belongs to the Grade 12’s and that extra year of practice really helps them. Whatever Travis achieves this year is a bonus and next year if this is something he wants to pursue then we can expect great things.”

Gratton hopes Loetkeman’s success will inspire more students to try a trade. Loetkeman isn’t dead set on pursuing a trade in the future.

“I find it fun because it’s challenging but it also gets boring because once you’ve mastered it there isn’t much more to learn and I like the challenge of learning.”

Loetkeman says he isn’t nervous even though the competition will get more complex at provincials and is instead looking forward to the challenge. The Provincial Skills Competition in Edmonton on May 6 and 7.